Intellectual Property / 8 Apr 2019

Borenius successfully advised Luhta (L-Fashion Group) on a case concerning comparison prices and misleading marketing

We successfully advised L-Fashion Group Oy before the Finnish Market Court on a case brought by the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman concerning comparison prices and misleading marketing practices. The Market Court handed down a ruling in a case on 5 April 2019 rejecting all the Consumer Ombudsman’s claims against our client.

The case concerned the sale and marketing of running trainers with a discounted price for several months after their main season (summer). The advertisements for the trainers included both the discounted price and the original selling price as a comparison price throughout the sale of the seasonal products after the main marketing period. According to the Consumer Ombudsman, the comparison price had become misleading in terms of the products’ genuine selling price after two months’ continuous sales.

Based on merits and evidence, the court did not find that there was any justification to ban the original price as a comparison price after two months’ continuous sales. The court accepted our arguments and ruled that the comparison price did not mislead the consumers in terms of the genuine price of the trainers’ nor did it harm  consumers’ interests. In this specific case, the difference between the comparison price and discounted price indicated the real benefit consumers gained from the discount outside the trainers’ main marketing period. The court further proceeded to state, in accordance with our arguments, that information about the original price and a product’s price level is of importance to consumers. Furthermore, it was proven that consumers had not been misled by the comparison price.

This remarkable ruling given by the Market Court confirms that in certain circumstances it is permissible for advertisers to indicate the seasonal product’s original price as a comparison price and, thus, inform the consumers adequately about their real price benefit even after a two months’ continuous sales period. In this case it was undisputed that the comparison price was a genuine selling price, and the trainers had been sold with said selling price for months before the sales began.

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